Peru Travel Information
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PUNO BRIEF HISTORY: Puno and Lake Titicaca were the regions where many cultures were developed such as the Pukara culture, which was the predecessor culture of the ancient peoples who later formed the Tiahuanaco culture, which spread out near Lake Titicaca between 300 and 1000 AD. The Tiawanaco people were masterful stone carvers and created monumental architecture, including in this art many giant pieces, examples:
The Puerta del Sol (Bolivia), which has the representation of the god Viracocha on its lintel, also the Lizard & the Karachi, which are called the Chullpas of Sillustani near Puno. In the department there are many archaeological sites almost unknown but very important such as the fortress of La Trinchera, the burial Tombs of Colo-Colo, near Patambuco, and the Aramu-muru Portal near Juli. Over the years, different ethnic groups clustered around Lake Titicaca. It is believed that the Inca Viracocha decreed that Quechua be the language of the region and the Inca Pachacutec be the conqueror of the Qollas. During the colonization of Peru, this region was very valuable for its mineral wealth, particularly gold mines and its proximity to the silver mines of Potosi in Bolivia. In 1870 the railway line from Arequipa to Puno was constructed and lake navigation began at Lake Titicaca.
HEALTH CENTERS: Puno: Manuel Nuñez Butron National Hospital, Avenida El Sol 1022. Phones: (051) 36-9696 / 35-1021 / 36-7777. Attention: Mon. – Fri. 7:30 A.M – 2:30 P.M. Juliaca-San Roman: Carlos Monge Medrano Hospital, Kilometer marker 2 of the Huancane Highway. Phones: (051) 32-1750 / 32-1131 / 32-1370. Attention: Mon. – Fri. 7:30 A.M – 1:30 P.M. LOCAL POLICE: Puno: XII Police Region, jiron Deustua 530. Telephone: (051) 35-3988. Attention: 24 hours. Puno Tourism Police: jiron Deustua 558. Attention: 24 hours. Juliaca (National Police of Peru): jiron San Martin & jiron Ramon. Phone: (051) 32-2091. Attention: 24 hours. CRAFT MARKETS: Puno: "San Jose Artisan Association" Craft Market: calle Cahuide, Block 3. Opening hours: Mon. – Sun.8:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M. "La Cholita" Artisans Association: Pasaje Lima 550, 2nd level. Opening hours: Mon. – Sun. 8:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M. "Tucuy Atipac" Handicrafts Center: Pasaje Lima 339, 2nd level. Opening hours: Mon. – Sun. 8:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M. "Coriwasi Association" Craft Market: calle Alfonso Ugarte 150. Opening hours: Mon. – Sun. 8:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. San Roman (Juliaca): Original Folk Art Handicrafts Center Inca Manco Capac International Airport, Juliaca. Telephone: (051) 32-2905. POSTAL SERVICES: Puno: SERPOST - jiron Moquegua 269. Telephone: (051) 35-1141. Attention: Mon. – Sat. 8:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M. Juliaca - San Roman: intersection of calles Sandia & Ladislao Butron. Telephone: (051) 32-1391. Attention: Mon. – Sat. 8:15 A.M. – 7:00 P.M. Distances from the city of Puno to the following cities: Juli (Province of Chucuito) 79 km (49 miles)/ 1 hour & 20 minutes. Ilave (Province of El Collao) 54 km (34 miles)/1 hour. Huancane (Province of Huancane) 99 km (62 miles)/ 2 hours & 30 minutes. Lampa (Province of Lampa) 80 km (50 miles)/ 1 hour & 30 minutes. Ayaviri (Province of Melgar) 137 km (85 miles)/2 hours & 45 minutes. Moho (Province of Moho) 138 km (86 miles)/3 hours. Putina (Province of San Antonio de Putina) 124 km (77 miles)/3 hours & 30 minutes. Juliaca (Province of San Roman) 44 km (27 miles)/45 minutes. Sandia (Province of Sandia) 272 km (169 miles)/9 hours. Yunguyo (Province of Yunguyo) 128 km (80 miles)/2 hours & 30 minutes. Azangaro (Province of Azangaro) 148 km (92 miles)/2 hours & 15 minutes. Macusani (Province of Carabaya) 255 km (158 miles)/7 hours.
PUNO TOURIST ATTRACTIONSPuno City Attractions: City Cathedral: Downtown. Visiting hours: Mon. – Fri. and Sun. 7:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. Sat. 7:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. The cathedral was built in the 17th century and the Peruvian architect Simon de Asto sculpted its façade. This Spanish Baroque church includes Andean elements that give the monument its mixed character. Conde de Lemos Balcony: Intersection of calles Deustua & Conde de Lemos. Visiting hours: Mon. – Fri. 8:30 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. Built around 1668, it is said that Count of Lemos was lodged in this house when he arrived to stamp out the rebellion. Today, it is the cultural complex of the National Culture Institute of the Department of Puno and it contains an art gallery. Deustua Arch: jiron Independencia, block 2. Constructed with cobblestones, it was erected by the people of Puno in memory of the patriots who fought for the independence of Peru. Huajsapata Hill: 4 blocks from the Main Square, west of the city; Huajsapata means "witness of my love". It is a natural lookout dominating the city and Lake Titicaca. At the top, there is a monument to Manco Capac, founder of the Inca Empire. They say that there are caverns & subterranean tunnels in the hill that connect Puno to the Koricancha Temple in Cusco. Kunturwasi Lookout: 2 km/1 mile from downtown Puno (10 minutes by car). Kunturwasi means "House of the Condor" and offers an unsurpassed view of Puno and Lake Titicaca. You must climb a large flight of steps to get there. Puma Uta Lookout Park: 3 km/2 miles northwest of Puno (20 minutes by car). The park features a puma-shaped stone monument – symbol of the lookout since this animal is a guardian related to the protection of the Andes – built on a fountain that symbolizes Lake Titicaca. There are many recreational areas. Bahia de los Incas Ecotourism Seawall: 8 blocks from the Main Square, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It is a pedestrian walkway offering a beautiful view of Lake Titicaca, where you find the solar clocks and calendars called Sukankas or Intihuatanas. The pre-Inca cultures used them to determine where the ceremonial and sacrificial rituals were going to take place. They also used them to establish the territorial boundaries of the communities. Yaravi Ship Museum: Avenida Sesquicentenario 610, Sector Huaje (near the Hotel Sonesta-Posada del Inca Pier). Telephone: (051) 36-9329. Visiting hours: Mon. – Sun. 8:00 A.M. – 5:15 P.M.- Free admission. It is an iron ship built in Great Britain in the 1860s that was transported from Arica in the Pacific coast to the High Plateau dismounted in pieces – 2,766 in total. Inside, different accessories of the ship compartments are exhibited as well as documents, archives, historical maps and models of that time.
Titicaca National Reserve: This Protected Natural Area was created in 1978 in order to preserve the natural resources characteristic of Lake Titicaca and the highland ecosystem. It covers an area of 36,180 hectares. In the reserve, dozens of birds, fish and amphibious species have been registered like flamingos or Parihuanas, Andean Geese, Seagulls, Titicaca Grebes, Chullumpis and Andean Lapwings as well as numerous endangered species. You will find 12 varieties of (sub-) aquatic plants representative of the lake flora, the most remarkable being the totora reeds and algae. Lake Titicaca (10 blocks from the Main Square): This lake is very important in Andean mythology since, according to legend, Manco Capac & Mama Ocllo, children of the sun god and founders of the Inca Empire, emerged from its waters. Peru and Bolivia share sovereignty over this navigable lake, the highest in the world (3,810 m.a.s.l/12,497 f.a.s.l). It covers an area of 8,559 km2 (3,305 miles2), a maximum depth of 283 meters (928 feet) and the average water temperature varies from October to May between 9ºC (48ºF) and 11ºC (52ºF) and from June to September between -7ºC (19ºF) and -10ºC (14ºF). Moreover, the lake tempers the area since without its presence, there would not be life at that altitude. On the Peruvian side of the lake, there are several islands; the natural islands include Amantani, Taquile, Soto and Anapia, and the artificial islands are the ones that the Uros people have built, each one offering different attractions. Along the shores of the lake, totora reeds grow where different birds and fish like the Carachis, Ispis, Bogas, Umantos, Suches (an endangered specie), Silverfish and trout call home. All these species are native of the area and are prized for their high nutritional value and delicious flavor. The Floating Islands of Uros: 5 km/3 miles west of Puno harbor (20 minutes by boat). The Uros Islands (3,810 m.a.s.l/12,497 f.a.s.l) number around 20 and are located in the Bay of Puno. Three to ten Uro-Aymaras families live on each one. They roof their houses with totora reed "carpets", although some families have replaced their traditional roofs by metal ones. The largest Islands are Tupiri, Santa María, Tribuna, Toranipata, Chumi, Paraiso, Kapi, Titino, Tinajero and Negrone. The Uros call themselves Kotsuña, "the lake people" and their origins go back to the era before the Incas. They hunt wild birds and maintain traditional fishing methods, especially those used for the carachi and the silverfish. The men are skillful handlers of the totora reed boats, and the women are expert knitters. The characteristic cold and dry weather of the region is tempered in this area thanks to the constantly evaporating water of the larger lake. Amantani Island: 36 km/22 miles northeast of Puno harbor (3 hours & 30 minutes by boat). Located at 3,187 m.a.s.l (10,453 f.a.s.l), Amantani covers some 9 km2 (3.5 miles2). The flora is characterized by the presence of bushes like the Muña, the Kantuta, the Sage, the Tola and the Patamuña. Eight communities live on the island and make their living from growing potatoes, corn, Oca, Quinua, lima beans and green peas, and their most representative handicrafts are textiles and stone carvings. Among its natural attractions, there are two lookouts on the highest part, offering a view of the entire lake, some pre-Hispanic remains, ceremonial centers and a mummy cemetery. Taquile Island: 35 km/22 miles east of the Puno port (3 hours by boat). Its approximate size is of 6 km2 (2 miles2) and the altitude between the port and the town varies slightly from 3,810 to 3,950 m.a.s.l (12,497 to 12,956 f.a.s.l). The maximum temperature there is 23ºC (66ºF), and the minimum is 7ºC (37ºF). Pre-Inca vestiges are found in the highest part of the island. During the Colonial period and up to the first years of the 20th century, it was used as a political prison, until the island became property of the Taquile people in 1970. The town of the same name, Taquile, is characterized by its friendly inhabitants, who maintain their customs and traditional clothing. They distinguish themselves by their detailed, fine and colorful textiles with symmetrical decorations and symbols that reflect their way of life, customs and Andean beliefs. Chucuito: 18 km/11 miles south of Puno (15 minutes by car). It is also known as the Royal Treasury City because it used to be the tax collection center during the Colonial era. It features a main square and the Renaissance churches of Santo Domingo (16th century) and La Asuncion (17th century). Sillustani Archaeological Complex: 34 km/21 miles north of Puno (35 minutes by car). This complex stands on the shore of Lake Umayo. It is famous for its "chullpas", large circular fortified burial towers for the main leaders of the early villages of the Collao plateau. Some are 12 meters high (39 feet), and remarkable for their shape, thinner at the base and wider at the top. Close to the archaeological complex is the site museum where different pieces from the Colla, Tiahuanuaco and the Inca cultures are preserved. Llachon: 74 km/46 miles northeast of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca (2 hours by car). This community of around 1,300 inhabitants still maintains its customs and native cultural manifestations, and its main activities are farming, cattle breeding, fishing & handicraft. Llachon can be reached by motorboat from Puno harbor and from the Islands of Taquile & Amantani or by land from Puno or Juliaca. The place offers experimental tourism, "living tourism", allowing visitors to stay with families of the community. Pucara: 107 km/66 miles north of Puno (1 hour & 45 minutes by car). Pucara is famous for its pottery, especially the well-known "Toritos de Pucara" (Little Bulls of Pucara). The Pucara Stone Museum, displaying a group of stone monolith-like sculptures, steles, zoomorphic sculptures, ceramics and other objects, is also worth a visit. Ceremonial center of the Pucara culture, which reached its peak between 250 B.C. & 380 A.D., the complex was built around 200 B.C. Two sectors can be distinguished: a ceremonial area composed by 9 pyramids, and an urban zone.